Lena & Gary - May 2010
This is a bit personal and I usually don’t share such a thing but I’m learning to become an open book – ALL FOR!
Below is my birth story for Enzo, AKA Dragonfly. He was my eighth pregnancy and fifth (living) baby. He was also my first labor after my very necessary c-section for Papi. I opted to have Enzo in the hospital because despite my greatest efforts, I could not afford the additional costs of a midwife and homebirth. I doubt I would have opted for the hospital birth if I didn’t have the excellent care of the assistant chief of staff at a hospital with an exceptional model of care for pregnant mamas.
I came into this birth knowing exactly what I wanted and needed to have a successful labor. It was spelled out for the entire medical staff in my very lengthy and detailed birth plan. The Good Lord gave me the graces to be at complete peace prior to going into full labor.
This is the story of my 24+ hour labor and delivery that I refer to as my home birth in the hospital.
Thursday, May 13
It was a long labor that started after a “calm” that scared me on Thursday, May 13. I was out trying to run errands in my last effort to be active. Enzo decided to give me a reprieve before my long labor to come. His movement for the day was slowed to the point that I became nervous and decided to go into L & D to be checked. Needless to say, he was fine.
Friday, May 14
Slow irregular contractions started to take wave on Friday evening. This is typical for me. I knew it was the start of labor for me but still remained poised because I anticipated my normal, long labor to follow. The contractions picked up and were consistent throughout the evening but did not persist. I was able to find good quality rest time. Gary stood home to help with the kids.
Saturday, May 15
Saturday rolled around and my contractions started to become more regular but were still mild. Once again, I remained poised. I stood upstairs worked through each contraction and rested when able. I had wonderful coaches and company from kids who managed to sneak by Gary throughout the day to get to me. Papi helped me out with my birthing ball exercises, Sweetie messaged me when needed, Sparkles and Rose did whatever was asked. I had a great team! Still, I knew I had a ways to go but did leave hope that my water would break soon.
My contractions intensified Saturday evening and I tried different pain management techniques with Gary within my home so as to prepare prior to the hospital visit. I didn’t want to be stuck without some absolute options of ways to soothe me (this labor) while having no other true support team once I got to the hospital. We finalized the optimal positions/exercises for me using the birth ball. Gary mastered his massage technique and I experimented with the shower and tub. It was concluded that the birthing pool would be a must for me again this time around.
Sunday, May 16
I knew I was not anywhere near the point of delivery but had progressed in labor. My contractions were strong enough and close enough to get me to consider making the trip to the hospital. I would have loved to stay home longer but wasn’t sure how I would do in a 1 hr car ride with more intense contractions.
Gary and I decided it would be best to go to the hospital while we were at this point in labor. We were both calm and would be able to set up at the hospital without being rushed.
Gary drove me to the hospital after Papa arrived for the kids at 6:00 am. I sat in the back of the van on my exercise ball and ate my breakfast between contractions. I continued my hydration regime that I started on Saturday. I wanted to be sure that I did not become dehydrated.
I was assessed and given a room. All the amenities were set up since I was dilated to six and it was baby number five for me. The nurses and midwife thought that I would be having a baby soon. I reassured them that I have long labors and continued to labor on my own with Gary.
The entire medical staff at the hospital was more than accommodating to my wishes spelled out in my rather lengthy birth plan. I was encouraged to turn in my detailed birth plan by a midwife that I met about a week prior. She reassured me that it would be read and scanned into the system and followed as closely as possible. She also sought approval from another Head of the Department. This approval was placed in my record. I’m sure all of these facts helped me to get the care I desired.
I continued to practice my birthing exercises with Gary throughout the morning in the hospital. I tried out the shower a couple of times. Sunday afternoon rolled around and I knew that our precious baby would not be coming anytime soon. Everything was going smoothly and slow. I was able to eat and drink through my labor as I wished. I did not pass any opportunities. Gary went out around 4pm to pick up a pizza and more Gatorade. I rested on my back in bed for the first time in several months. We ate dinner together and teased that this was turning out to be a great vacation.
My “vacation” did not last long. My contractions began to pick up again. I refocused and went back to work. Slow and steady was the tempo. My water did not break until 1 am on Monday morning. By that time I had already had three nurses change shift and two midwives. The midwife on duty diligently announced that I could start pushing. I reassured her that I did not work that way, typically I would have four-six more hours of labor. She did not seem too interested in my own assessment but left me to it.
Monday, May 17
Slow and steadied, I continued. The midwife was scheduled to change shift soon and she made another appearance before leaving. She reiterated that I could start pushing and if things did not progress that we could talk about other options. I was not at all interested in other options and planned to avoid any further discussions at all costs.
I began what would be my longest battle with pushing. Despite my better judgment, I went for it and started pushing with my contractions at 3 am – 5 am. Needless to say, there was no progress. I knew that I was not cooperating with my body and allowing my contractions to do their job, however slow that may have been.
It became intense and my back labor was like no other. I spent most of my time in the shower but longed for a break from the back pain. I even managed to place a phone call to a doula (who so kindly offered me her free phone service). I called to inquire if there was a magical way not to have such intense back labor. She reiterated all the techniques that we were already trying. I had become physically drained and emotionally defeated. Not to mention, Gary was out like a log. He was operating on two hours of sleep.
It was about 5 am and I sat on the bed with Gary at my side. We were both exhausted and it was well written on our faces. The new shift of nurses arrived. My nurse, Shawna, walked in and immediately began to put me at ease. She reassured me that I could take a break to gain a much needed rest. However, I was not completely sold. I was ready for baby Enzo to be out!
She allowed me to continue as I desired while staying by our side. She saw me through a series of contractions and witnessed my complete exhaustion first hand. She offered me another option, to be checked for dilation. She stated that if I were ready I could continue to push and if not, that I should get some rest. It turned out that I was at nine with some cervix left. Whether this was a result of pushing unnecessarily or just my body taking its sweet time, I do not know. Whatever the cause, I was due for a rest. No more pushing!
My contractions and hard back labor continued but I was able to withstand them and embrace the work that my body was doing. I was no longer being counterproductive. This was difficult for me because the previous midwife had me so defeated that I began second guessing my body. That’s where Shawna came in. She walked me through my meditations and breathing – reassuring me the entire way that my body was doing its job and baby Enzo would be here shortly.
I did not want her to leave! She was such a tremendous help to both Gary and I. She left on break at about 12:30. At which point I decided that I was ready to have baby Enzo and so I decided to speed things up naturally for myself - a shower always helps me get contractions going. I made Shawna promise that she would come back it I called her.
Within 30 minutes in the shower I was ready to push. Once again, I began to double guess my body due to the previous long episode of pushing. Where was Shawna? I pulled the emergency cord in the shower and informed the nurse’s station that I needed Shawna. In ran the new midwife on duty.
She began to introduce herself to me and I interrupted her to inform her that I knew who she was but I wanted Shawna. The midwife was not too happy with this request. "What can I help you with," she persisted. I told her, "I'm no longer sure if I’m ready to push or just experiencing pressure.” She offered to check and I hesitantly agreed. She informed me that in fact I was completely dilated and ready to go. She then urged me to get out of the shower. At which point I told her that I would stay in the shower until Shawna got back on watch. The midwife left and within seconds, guess who showed up… Shawna. She was beckoned from her break.
I began to push just as she came in to assess me. I could hear the midwife urging me to make it to the bed. I informed her that baby Enzo’s head was already out and that I would not be making it anywhere. She managed to have Shawna and Gary help me walk to the bed while I postponed pushing.
Baby Enzo was born shortly after another series of exchanges of the midwife’s desires vs. my own desires.
He gave a brief scare. The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck, his face was blue, and he was not breathing. He was immediately taken to the infant bed for treatment. Gary kept watch on him while I lay there praying for for the intercession of the Blessed Mother to accept God’s will.
“We have a heart beat……..he’s breathing……” Praise be to God! Enzo was just fine. He made his way to me and began to nurse.
Monday, May 24
Baby Enzo is a big boy with a sweet disposition. He reminds me of his daddy in many ways. His sisters can’t get enough of him and his brother constantly keeps guard of him. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. DEO GATIAS
“Enzo” to mom & “Gio” to dad
May 17, 2010 ~ 1:11pm
9.14 lbs ~ 20.5 in
In His Joy,
This is day 6 of my pregnancy reflections. You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.